APPLY If your child is in need of a backpack and/or school supplies, please fill out the following application or stop by office hours. If you have any questions please e-mail Jen (Neighbourhood Support Worker) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-836-9427. Or speak with Cassandra Insell, our Parent Outreach Worker. Application: Available Now! Backpack Project Application 2018 (1) Guelph Community Backpack Drive 2018 The back-to-school season is, for many parents, “the most wonderful time of the year”, however for others it’s a time of stress and anxiety, where significant extra costs stretch already tight budgets. For individuals and families living in poverty, the school necessities can’t be purchased because families need to put all their funds towards covering housing, food, transportation and other more prioritized expenses. While parents may try to shelter their children from their financial difficulties, we know that children living in poverty feel different from their peers– they feel the imbalance– and this places psychological stressors on them from a very early age. Feelings of isolation, a lack of acceptance, anger and hopelessness are often the results. Children begin acting out or withdrawing, which further affects the quality of their education. When this is coupled with other realities caused by poverty— poor nutrition, lack of stimulating activities or exercise, increased exposure to toxins etc.—students living in poverty are at a significant disadvantage to their peers. They, statistically, have grade point averages 25-35% lower and are four times more likely to struggle with truancy or dropping out. Education is a pivotal ingredient in breaking the cycle of poverty. If children do not enter school feeling confident, prepared or excited to learn, their education experience will be compromised, the effects rippling down throughout their life. So we help fix this imbalance by helping students feel prepared and confident for the school year ahead. We would like to introduce you to the Guelph Back-to-School Backpack Project. Every year, HOPE House organizes the city-wide Back-to-School Backpack program in partnership with other community service groups. We work to ensure that as many children as possible receive brand new backpacks with those supplies needed for students to be fully prepared, helping them to feel confident as they return to school. Through our application process, we gather information on the student’s grade in order to offer a brand new backpack and supplies customized to each and every student as they shop for their needed Program Highlights Providing brand-new backpacks and supplies to 1000 children in need Breaks down educational barriers for children in poverty Brings awareness to the effects of poverty on the lives of children Contact email@example.com or call 519.265.4299 for more information supplies in an affordable pay what you can back-to-school market. By owning something brand new, our kids feel that they matter, that they are valued and that they have not been overlooked or forgotten. We are simultaneously helping their school readiness as well as their state of mind and self-confidence going into a new school year. This year HOPE House and the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition will be supplying 1000 students in the Guelph area with new backpacks and supplies. How can I help? Great question! And there is so much you can do. You could raise supplies at your business or ask your colleagues to get involved and support this project. You could raise funds for it, make a corporate donation, or even have a small collection jar available. You could purchase supplies and donate them or collect brand new supplies from people who would like to donate them. You could give a discount to anyone who drops off at your location or offer and incentive for people in your network to get involved. No matter the size of your business, there is something you can do to help the children in our community who need your support. And what a difference it makes! The reactions we see from the parent and children in this program keep us going year after. The hugs, the tears, the pirouettes of joy, the smiles and the giggles share with us the simple truth: that reaching out to someone with compassion makes a difference. These backpacks make a difference! We know one of the best poverty fighting tool out there is a full education—an education free of disparities and inequalities. Help Guelph students go back to school with confidence, excited, and school ready. Support the backpack program. Thank you for your support!